Middlebury

Men's Tennis To Defend NESCAC Title

April 25, 2007

Middlebury College, the three-time defending NESCAC Men's Tennis Champions, will look to claim a fourth NESCAC Men's Tennis title this weekend as the top-seeded Panthers will battle with five other squads for the 2007 NESCAC Men's Tennis Championship. Amherst College will host the three-day event with the first match scheduled for a 9:00 a.m. start on Friday. The 2007 NESCAC Men's Tennis Championship will conclude on Sunday, April 29, with the championship match at 9:00 a.m.

Friday's first match will showcase fourth-seed Trinity (6-5, 3-2 NESCAC) taking on fifth-seed Amherst (12-4, 3-2 NESCAC). The lone meeting of the regular season between the two squads went to the Bantams, a hard-fought 6-3 victory over the Jeffs on April 10 in Amherst, Mass. that saw four singles matches require three sets and two doubles matches that needed extra play to decide a winner. The meeting may have been decided by the outcome of the singles matches, as two of the four singles that Trinity took from Amherst featured Bantam players overcoming a first set deficit. Bantam senior Brian Marsden (Hingham, Mass.), a NESCAC All-Conference First Team selection last season, bounced back to win 3-6, 6-0, 6-2 over Jeff sophomore Zach Lerner (Scarsdale, N.Y.), while Trinity junior Tom Dolan (Shrewsbury, Mass.) recovered from a 2-6 setback in the first set to Amherst junior Geoff Schwartz (Dallas, Texas) by winning the next two sets by carbon-copy scores of 7-5. Entering Friday's first round, Amherst has won four of its last five outings, most recently taking Tufts 9-0, while Trinity has dropped its last two matches after putting together a streak of five wins in the month of April. During last year's championship, both teams advanced out of the first round and into the semifinals.

The Trinity-Amherst winner from Friday will face top-seeded Middlebury (16-1, 5-0 NESCAC) on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. The three-time defending champion Panthers have had another stellar season on the courts, having won nine outings by a 9-0 score, and have also not dropped a regular season match to a NESCAC opponent since April of 2002, a victory streak of 39. The Panthers are already familiar with both the Lord Jeffs and the Bantams after Middlebury competed against both teams this past weekend, taking a 6-3 decision at Amherst on Saturday before winning 7-2 over Trinity on Sunday. Middlebury has been led this season by the tandem of senior tri-captain Alex Scott (Mt. Kisco, N.Y.) and sophomore Conrad Olson (Waterloo, Belgium). Scott, a two-time All-NESCAC First Team Doubles honoree, brings a 21-5 doubles record and a 21-7 singles mark into the weekend, while Olson, the 2006 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, is 18-4 in singles competition this season and 24-2 in doubles.

Following the Amherst-Trinity first round match on Friday will be third-seed Williams (10-5, 3-2 NESCAC) taking on sixth-seed Colby (7-5, 3-2 NESCAC). Both teams will enter Friday's match, the first meeting between the two squads this decade, with opportunities to fine-tune their play this week, as Colby will host NESCAC rival Bates on Wednesday while Williams will travel to Skidmore on Tuesday and Vassar on Wednesday. The Mules closed out the NESCAC slate on Saturday with a convincing 9-0 victory at Hamilton, while the Ephs, who have won four of their last five matches entering the week, split a weekend series at home in NESCAC play, falling 5-4 to Bowdoin on Saturday before rebounding with an 8-1 win on Sunday over Bates.

The team that advances from the Colby-Williams match will face second-seed Bowdoin (15-3, 4-1 NESCAC) in the second semifinal on Saturday. The Polar Bears head into the weekend riding a modest three-game winning streak, most recently upending Hamilton on Sunday 9-0. Bowdoin earned wins over both of its potential semifinal opponents, taking a 6-3 win over NESCAC rival Colby on April 18 in Waterville, Maine and overcoming Williams in Williamstown, Mass. on April 21, 5-4. The only two losses Bowdoin has suffered this season have come at the hands of NESCAC foes Bates (5-4) on April 4 and Middlebury (7-2) on April 14. The Polar Bears are hoping that the first round bye pays dividends in the form of a championship appearance on Sunday, as Bowdoin stumbled in the first round to Amherst during last year's championship. Leading the Polar Bears this season has been a pair of All-NESCAC singles and doubles selections from last season, senior Sam Bitetti (Norwell, Mass.) and junior Garrett Gates (Fairway, Kansas). Bitetti owns a 14-5 singles record and a 15-3 doubles record this season, while Gates is 12-2 in singles competition, winning five of six matches in April, and 10-4 in doubles play.

The format of the NESCAC Men's Tennis Championship changed in the spring of 2006 and features six teams vying for the NESCAC crown. Prior to 2006, the event was set up as an individual flighted tournament that included players from all 11 members of the NESCAC. Individuals and doubles teams were seeded in different classes, and a team score was determined on a points system that assigned a value for wins. The championship field is now chosen by a tournament selection committee, which seeds the six participating teams one-to-six, with the top two seeds receiving a first round bye.

Results of each match and updated schedules will be available at the conclusion of each day at www.nescac.com.

2007 NESCAC MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP
First Round - Friday, April 27
No. 5 Amherst vs. No. 4 Trinity - 9:00 a.m.
No. 6 Colby vs. No. 3 Williams - Immediately Following

Semifinals - Saturday, April 28
Winner No. 5/No. 4 vs. No. 1 Middlebury - 9:00 a.m.
Winner No. 6/No. 3 vs. No. 2 Bowdoin - Immediately Following

Championship - Sunday, April 29
Semifinal Winners - 9:00 a.m.

No. 5 Amherst vs. No. 4 Trinity - 9:00 a.m.
No. 6 Colby vs. No. 3 Williams - Immediately Following

Semifinals - Saturday, April 28
Winner No. 5/No. 4 vs. No. 1 Middlebury - 9:00 a.m.
Winner No. 6/No. 3 vs. No. 2 Bowdoin - Immediately Following

Championship - Sunday, April 29
Semifinal Winners - 9:00 a.m.

Winner No. 5/No. 4 vs. No. 1 Middlebury - 9:00 a.m.
Winner No. 6/No. 3 vs. No. 2 Bowdoin - Immediately Following

Championship - Sunday, April 29
Semifinal Winners - 9:00 a.m.

Semifinal Winners - 9:00 a.m.